Participants may be eligible for a valuable incentive, which could reduce their federal income tax liability, for contributing to your company’s retirement plan. If they qualify, they may receive a Tax Saver’s Credit of up to $2,000 ($4,000 for married couples filing jointly) if they made eligible contributions to an employer sponsored retirement savings plan. The deduction is claimed in the form of a non-refundable tax credit, ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent of their annual contribution.
When participants contribute a portion of each paycheck into the plan on a pre-tax basis, they are reducing the amount of their income subject to federal taxation. And, those assets grow tax-deferred until they receive a distribution. If they qualify for the Tax Saver’s Credit, they may even further reduce their taxes.
Participants’ eligibility depends on their adjusted gross income (AGI), tax filing status and retirement contributions. To qualify for the credit, a participant must be age 18 or older and cannot be a full-time student or claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return.
The chart below can be used to calculate the credit for the tax year 2017. First, participants must determine their AGI –total income minus all qualified deductions. Then they can refer to the chart below to see how much they can claim as a tax credit if they qualify.
|Filing Status/Adjusted Gross Income for 2017|
|Amount of Credit||Joint||Head of Household||Single/Others|
|50% of amount deferred||$0 to $37,000||$0 to $27,750||$0 to $18,500|
|20% of amount deferred||$37,001 to $40,000||$27,751 to $30,000||$18,501 to $20,000|
|10% of amount deferred||$40,001 to $62,000||$30,001 to $46,500||$20,001 to $31,000|
Source: IRS Form 8880
- A single employee whose AGI is $17,000 defers $2,000 to their retirement plan will qualify for a tax credit equal to 50 percent of their total contribution. That’s a tax savings of $1,000.
- A married couple, filing jointly, with a combined AGI of $38,000 each contributes $1,000 to their respective company plans, for a total contribution of $2,000. They will receive a 20 percent credit reducing their tax bill by $400.
With the Tax Saver’s Credit, participants may owe less in federal taxes the next time they file by contributing to their retirement plan. See our accompanying 2017 Tax Saver’s Credit post.